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Kids’ Oral Care: What You Need to Know

Baby Tooth Basics
Most babies get their first tooth around 6 months, but teensy teeth can start sprouting as early as 3 months or as late as 14 months. They typically emerge in pairs, and by age 2-1/2, most kids will have around 20 teeth. And even though these teeth will eventually fall out, it’s crucial to take care of them, as they play a factor in speech development, eating, and in determining how permanent teeth will come in.

Once the first tooth comes in, gently rub it with a washcloth twice a day. When your baby has several teeth, start brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Toddlers often love to imitate their parents and older siblings and use toothpaste, but at this stage just use a tiny amount of a fluoride-free toddler training toothpaste or gel.  You can also protect those little teeth by providing healthy snacks and limiting exposure to juice and sugary drinks.

Once your child is 2 and able to spit on their own, you can transition to a fluoride toothpaste like Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry natural anticavity toothpaste. It is ADA-Accepted to help prevent cavities, and you can feel good about the fact that it has no artificial dyes, sweeteners, or flavors.

Until your child is 5 or 6, they won’t have the fine motor skills it takes to move the brush around the mouth effectively. You’ll have to brush for them or hold your hand over theirs as they try it themselves. (You’ll also be the one flossing!). Try to make this time fun by talking about the teeth, counting them, making up stories, or letting your child choose her own brush and supplies.

Bye-Bye Baby Teeth
Typically, children start to lose their baby teeth and replace them with adult teeth when they are 6 or 7. The 6-year molars come in behind the baby molars, which adds a whole new challenge to brushing way in the back. Adding a fluoride rinse to your child’s routine—after a full two-minutes of brushing—will provide an extra level of cavity protection for those hard-to-reach first permanent teeth.  We like Tom’s of Maine Juicy Mint Children’s Anticavity Fluoride Rinse because it’s ADA-Accepted to help prevent cavities without any dyes, flavors, or artificial sweeteners—and has a fruity light mint flavor kids love. 

Starting around age 8, your child’s taste buds could be changing and may want to switch from the fruity sweetness of Silly Strawberry™ to the mild mint flavor of new Tom’s of Maine Wicked Cool!™ toothpaste. It’s specially designed for kids ages 8-12 who are outgrowing fruit or bubblegum flavors, but aren’t quite ready for the strong mint flavors of many adult toothpastes. And of course, like all Tom’s kids toothpastes, it has no artificial dyes, sweeteners, or flavors.

When to See the Dentist
You should consider taking your child for an initial dentist visit at 12 months, but talk to your pediatrician about what’s best for your child. Once your child starts going, you should aim for a checkup every six months. It will save a lot of time and unnecessary stress if you find a dentist your child likes. Don’t hesitate to try a few—your child’s dental hygiene depends on it.

Bottom Line?
It’s never too early to start thinking about your little one’s oral care and the best products to use to meet your child’s needs. The more diligent you are about teaching good brushing habits and establishing a healthy oral care as your child grows, the better the chances for a lifetime of overall health and happiness. 

(Source: Tom’s of Maine®)